Capital punishment or the death penalty is something that you might only think of in conjunction with murderers. That is because most of the time when imposed in North Carolina, the death penalty is only for murder. However, there are other capital crimes at the state level. There are additional ones if you face a federal charge, including drug-related charges.
CNN explains that at the federal level, some drug crimes can be punishable by the death penalty. However, capital punishment is not used often. It is a very serious penalty that requires careful consideration.
Typically, capital punishment is reserved for cases where someone lost their life as a result of the crime. This is why you see it used most often in conjunction with murder charges. With the state of the country’s drug epidemic, though, there is more of a push to use this punishment on high-level drug dealers charged with federal drug crimes.
The idea is that removing these criminals from the streets for good might help reduce the amount of drugs coming into the country. It will show others that this type of crime has serious repercussions.
The issue is that the Supreme Court typically will not allow the death penalty unless there is a death involved in the crime. So, it will be up to federal prosecutors to ensure they prove the devastation caused by a high-level drug dealer in terms of people’s lives.
The bottom line here, though, is that most federal drug crimes are not eligible for the death penalty. This information is for education and is not legal advice.